Home-> Security & Protection-> Vegetative state may not be a death sentence


2007-9-2 10:00:29

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A woman woke up to eat and drink and enjoy her life for three days after six years in a coma caused by a cardiac arrest and stroke.

Doctors including Randall Bjork who help care for the 49 year old lady have not believed until now early reports by the lady's mother Minnie Smith saying that her daughter has woken up a few times in the past six years.

"She was smiling and grinning and told my staff she wanted to go to a club, even doing a little chair dance in her wheelchair," Bjork was quoted by The New York Times as saying.

Christa Lilly was hit by a cardiac arrest in November 2000, according to news report.   Even since, Ms. Smith has been patiently caring for her daughter at home.   Lilly has woken at least five times since 2000 for a short period of time from hours to days.

This time, after Lilly woke up, Smith let her out of the feeding tubes and took her out for her favorite foods including catfish, hush puppies, cake and ice cream.

There are reports that some patients wake up after slipping into a long term vegetative state. And Doctors have no clue as to why that happens.

BBC reported on May 5, 2005 that a New York Fireman named Donald Herbert woke up and said "I want to talk to my wife" after ten years in a coma.

The 43-year-old man became able to speak in length to those who worried about him in nearly a decade after he was hit by the collapsed roof and fell into a coma with loss of his memory and vision.

At least another American named Terry Wallis woke up in 2003 after a 19-year coma.

Dr. Bjork said doctors may have to redefine vegetative state for people like Ms. Lilly.   Often doctors would describe the type of those people as a persistent vegetative state and call occasional wake-ups as miracles.

Ms. Smith reported ealier to Bjork that her daughter had woken up a few times.   The doctor did not believe it and asked her to bring her daughter to see him next time Ms. Lilly wakes up.

This time, Ms. Smith brought Ms. Lilly to see Dr. Bjork along with a crew of TV reporters.   The doctor was shocked, news media reports.

Doctors now said that Lilly has been in a "minimally conscious state" rather than a persistent vegetative state.

Dr. Bjork said he would like to stimulate Ms Lilly to bring her back to normal, but Ms. Smith was reluctant saying Thursday that "I don't want my daughter to be a guinea pig for nobody," according to the Times.

Smith added that Lilly will be back if God allow.